Normal to below normal rainfall is evident in many Pacific Island countries, with the Pacific Ocean showing renewed signs of El Niño development. There is a 50 per cent chance of an El Niño forming by the end of 2014. Water conservation measures are recommended.
Drought conditions are being monitored on Emau Island, located in North Efate in Shefa Province. The island, with a population of 1,000 has not had rainfall since June 2014.
Government assessments found that rainwater catchment supplies will be exhausted in a month. Water conservation measures have been enforced and costly water transportation may be required.
The Fiji Meteorological Office reports drier than normal conditions since June 2014 which is impacting Western, Northern and Eastern Divisions and smaller outlying islands. Conditions are expected to continue for the next three months.
Water conservation is being advised due to very low rainfall on the main island, Tongatapu, and below normal for Ha’apai, Vava’u and Niuafo’ou. Many people remain in tents in Ha’apai following Tropical Cyclone Ian in January 2014.
There are currently measles and chikungunya outbreaks in the region.
There have been 1308 cases of measles reported in the Solomon Islands since July 2014. On 1 September, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services launched a national measles vaccination campaign to target people aged 6 months to 30 years. Chuuk State in the Federated States of Micronesia reports eight cases of measles and has also begun a mass vaccination campaign.
1316 cases since July
There are 823 cases of chikungunya in American Samoa, 626 cases in Samoa and 164 suspected cases in Tokelau since July. Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes and symptoms include fever and joint pain. Bed nets and mosquito repellents are being distributed in conjunction with mosquito control and prevention information campaigns.
823 cases in American Samoa
626 cases in Samoa
164 cases in Tokelau